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Lebendige Vergangenheit - Hans Reinmar

Artist Hans Reinmar
Title Lebendige Vergangenheit - Hans Reinmar
Release Date 2006-09-02
Genre Classical > Choro
Copyright © Preiser Records
Country AUSTRIA

Promotion Text

Lebendige Vergangenheit

Cad Ebert considered him to be the most compelling German character baritone; Bruno Walter thought him ideal as Bugen Onegin; Heinz Tietjen deemed him the perfect heroic baritone of the 1940s and Walter Felsen'stein regarded him as the ideal interpreter of naturalistic music theatre. In the more than forty years of bis career, Hans Reinmar was probably the most versatile and multi­ facetted baritone of bis time. He was born on April 11, 1895 in Vienna. Initially he trained to become a civil engineer. His uncle was municipal architect in Graz and Reinmar was to take over the latter's firm one day. However, while still training to become an engineer he decided to start vocal tuition. He left for Milan to study with Vittorio Vanzo but initially did not intend to become a singer. Like his compatriot and later colleague, Jaro Prohaska, he wanted to become a conductor. However, the difficult economic situation during the immediate post-war era thwarted his plans. Reinmar had to earn money quickly and as he bad completed bis vocal studies in Milan, he signed a contract to appear in Olmütz as "singer and actor for opera and operette", as it stated in the annals of the Municipal Theatre, Olmütz. In 1921 Reinmar was engaged to join the Nuremberg ensemble as a leading baritone. Yet Nuremberg was only a stop-gap. By 1922 he bad already signed up for Zurich, permission being given to him to leave providing he found a suitable successor. Not without egoistic motives there­ fore did Reinmar take a great interest in the progress of a young baritone who - 15 years later - was to be one of bis colleagues. In 1921 Karl Schmitt-Walter began his successful career as a lyric baritone, aided and advised by the slightly· older but much more experienced Hans Reinmar. Nevertheless Nuremberg was loath to let Reinmar go to Zurich. The magazine "Die Musik" wrote in February 1923: "The revival of Humperdinck's 'Königskinder', in which Hans Reinmar gave a perfect vocal and histrionic performance as the Spielmann was keenly anticipated. Unfortunately, we will loose this talented singer to the Municipal Theatre in Zurich, as the applause of the Franconians, which the young artist can revel in here, seems a weak equivalent in comparison to the exchange rate of Swiss Francs." Reinmar stayed in Zurich until 1926. He sang in Dresden for one season and signed up for Hamburg in 1927. His career really took wing in 1928 when he joined the ensemble of the Berlin Municipal Opera. During the subsequent 16 years - until all theatres closed in 1944 - he became a veritable institution in Berlin. His range of roles was so great that his repertoire overlapped with that of all of bis colleagues at the time, without being confined to one particular domain. As Amfortas and Holländer he competed with Jaro Prohaska, Rudolf Bockelmann, Wilhelm Rode and Herbert Janssen; as a Verdi baritone he sang the roles of Heinrich Schlusnus, Willi Domgraf-Fass­ baender, Mathieu Ahlersmeyer and Karl Schmitt-Walter, whose calling card role - Don Giovanni - he also sang, as did Gerhard Hüsch and Hans Wocke. Reinmar was also lauded in contemporary roles: Johann Mattes in Kurt Weill's "Bürgschaft" and "Oberst Chabert" (Waltershausen) in the late 1920s. After the war Reinmar sang Hindemith's "Mathis der Maler", the eponymous hero of von Einem's "Dantons Tod" as well as Oberst Kraus von Zillergut in Robert Kurka's "The good soldier Schweijk" - his last new role, which he sang two days before bis death. Reinmar presented evil personified when singing Iago or Scarpia. Yet as Falstaff or Sir Morosus in Strauss' "Schweigsame Frau" he bad not only the necessary pig-headedness but also the genial humor that makes figures of this kind credible. Reinmar's most important portrayal in the late stage of his career was undoubtedly Mussorgsky's "Boris Godunov", which he sang in both Berlin and Munich in the original version. After 1928 Reinmar sang mainly in Berlin, although between 1939 and 1941 he appeared as Donner, Gunther and Amfortas at the Bayreuth Festival and he also sang Mandryka in 1942/43 in Salzburg. Immediately after the war he was engaged to sing in Vienna. The Vienna Opera annals of the post-war era list 19 performances with Reinmar, including Escamillo, Marcello, Renato, Scarpia, Tonio and Wolfram. In 1933 he had already sung Renato there andin 1'942/43 he appeared as Amonasro, Scarpia and Sebastiano. Despite the acclaim he received.in Munich during the immediate post-war era - in 1950 and 1951 he alternated with Karl Schmitt-Walter and Dietrich Fischer­ Dieskau as Wolfram during the Opera Festival - Reinmar did not feel "at home" until he appeared in Berlin once again: first in 1947 at a Lieder recital and subsequently at the State Opera as Eugen Onegin, Rigoletto, Boris Godunov and Don Giovanrri; subsequently at the Municipal Opera as Iago, Tonio, Simone Boccanegra and Escamillo. After 1952 he was a member of the Berlin Komische Oper ensemble, where· he remained until his death. He died on February 7, 1961. Two days before he had appeared one more time as "The good soldier Schweijk".